© Marta Zuzga | Dreamstime.com - Stone heart
Compassion is a choice you can make it at any time. It requires no special schooling, no extra time or money, nada but awareness and a decision to lead with love.
And, while you think you are acting with compassion to help someone else – and it certainly will help them – compassion is really more about you and how close you want to live to your heart. In the end your compassionate action says more about you than the person receiving it, but it is the one thing that will change both of us.
It isn’t always easy for sure. Often the most difficult people are the ones that need our compassion the most. They have hurt us, taken advantage. In our anger or hurt or frustration, we don’t feel like giving them anything at all.
It’s easy to feel as though they don’t deserve it, the goodness we have to share. But when we believe that we separate a little from our highest selves and move closer to the side that is in the clutches of Ego. This is where fear lurks, anger, desperation.
When we cannot offer compassion, we limit ourselves more than the other guy. We dim a bit, become less creative, more reactive and worried and caught up in what others have done instead of what we can do.
There is plenty that goes wrong in this world. Lots of pain and problems. People inadvertently make big mistakes or intentionally choose behavior that harms others. There are consequences to pay for this stuff – and there should be. You do not need to hang out with those that hurt you, but even as you are putting your personal boundaries in place, you can release judgment and offer compassion.
Then, real change is possible. Judgment keeps us comparing and angry. Compassion is the way out.
In the end, it isn’t whether someone deserves your compassion or not. It’s a matter of whether you are confident and courageous enough to offer it.
Here are three ways you can.
1. Lead with your heart. Don’t overthink things with that brain of yours. You don’t have to judge or analyze every situation. But every situation provides you the opportunity to move closer to your values, to align with your highest self and live with peace and love, creativity and compassion. By our very nature, we feel better and more expansive when we are offering grace – even when people have blown it. Stay close to your true nature; operate from your highest self. This about how you want to be in the world. It is not dependent on what others have done.
2. Root yourself in responsibility and connection. We all must answer to our mistakes. To be accountable for our lives and face the consequences, but there can also be compassion in those moments. When you can afford another the freedom to move through their difficult circumstance, not by excusing it, or supporting it, or taking it over, or easing the load, but just by being there with compassion rather than judgment you will feel better too.
3. Turn on the empathy. When you fall into judgment of another, pause and put yourself in their shoes Imagine their shame and suffering. Imagine their fear, what it must be like to endure the embarrassment. We’ve all done the wrong thing. We’ve all hurt someone with our words or actions.
Compassion does not excuse the bad behavior; it simply moves you closer to your highest self, the place where goodness and learning can come from the bad.
We have all felt not enough. We have been the victims of jokes or snarky comments. We have all been judged, just as we have judged. We have all made mistakes.
Don’t create more by becoming self-righteous, or removed. Don’t add to the pain by thinking you are better than all that. Be brave enough to be empathetic. Even if you can’t rationalize the actions of others, you too know what it is like to suffer and hurt. You can empathize with that. Do that and compassion will come.